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South African Medical Journal

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The sweating sickness in England

Archibald W. Sloan

Abstract


An acute infect;ous fever, called the sweating sickness, broke out in England in five major epidemics in the years 1485, 1508, 1517, 1528 and 1551. Only one epidemic, that of 1528, spread also on the continent of Europe. The disease I-vas characterized by headache, pain in the chest, and profuse sweating, and frequently proved fatal within 24 hours. It can be distinguished from plague, malaria, and typhus, all of which were prevalent in the 161h century, and was probably not influenza but anoTher virus infection which has not reappeared in England since 1551.




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